Plastic Ban in Karnataka – What it means to Food Businesses

A plastic ban in Karnataka , issued by State Government has come into effect from 11th March 2016. This move has surely ruffled a lot of feathers , since Plastics have become an inseparable part of the common man. Plastic bags are used by both small and large vendors of vegetables, groceries,dairy etc.  Thus with this one move, the state government is expecting to curb the menace of plastic disposal and contamination

Plastic Ban in Karnataka

From now on, everyone has to carry their own bags to the market, since the traders would not be providing them with plastic bags , or would be providing paper bags.

The root cause, as is being understood for this long-awaited directive of plastic ban in Karnataka to become a reality, have to do with the degrading environmental conditions in the state, such as :

  • There is a growing concern about the disposal of Plastic bags since it’s manufacture and disposal is very harmful to the society
  • Burning plastic is causing irreversible damage to our health by raising air pollution levels and pumping carcinogens into our air.
  • Plastic bags are responsible for contaminating water bodies, choking drains and adding to landfills, which cause water logging during the monsoon season.
  • Stray animals either choke and die by consuming plastics littered on the roads.
  • Quality of plastics degrades after a period of time, thereby making it a dangerous commodity when used with food items

The notification states that “No shopkeeper, vendor, wholesale dealer, retailer, trader, hawker or salesman shall use plastic carry bags, plastic banners, plastic buntings, flex, plastic flags, plastic plates, plastic cups, plastic spoons, cling film and plastic sheets for spreading on dinning table, irrespective of thickness including the above items made of thermacol and plastic, which use plastic micro beads”. The only exemption granted is for the export units, apart from the plastic used for milk and milk products and plant nurseries.

Further, the manufacture, supply, storage and transportation of plastic bags has also been banned along with a ban on cups, spoons, cling films and plastic sheets that are used for spreading on dining tables, irrespective of their thickness.

The only exemptions include plastic bags manufactured specifically for Exports by any industry located in an SEZ (Special Economic Zone) and EOU (Export Oriented Units ).Further, for industries that seal the packages during manufacturing or processing are excused from the plastic ban. Horticulture and forestry nurseries that use plastic sheets, and dairy products (milk and milk products) are also excluded as well.

Many industries are dependent on plastics in some way or the other. However, it is the Food Industry that is most dependent on the plastic packaging, and suffers the major setback from this plastic ban. This is specifically for the Quick Service Restaurants like McDonalds, Cafe Coffee Day etc., which have plastic packaging, plates, spoons and take away cups.

This plastic ban also means that restaurants cannot pack any food – such as chutneys and gravys – in plastic covers, while online kitchens cannot provide food in plastic boxes anymore. This also means lunchboxes cannot be packed in plastic Dabbas anymore.

The plastic ban in Karnataka is a major step in Swachch Bharat Abhiyan by the Central Government. It remains to be seen if there is a considerable improvement in environment in the state, following this move.

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